Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ On October 12-13, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is organizing a workshop themed 'Early Warning and Early Action', with the support of the Cabinet and the United Nations Office.
It is being attended by over 120 officials from the NEMA, the UN Permanent Representative Office in Mongolia, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, National Agency for Meteorology and Environment Monitoring of Mongolia, NEMA branches and Departments of Food and Agriculture of aimags. The conference aims to identify possible difficulties that may arise this winter, reduce possible damages with early warning, define measures to be taken in order to ensure full preparedness for upcoming winter and draft a damage reduction strategy based on experiences of previous years.
In the winter of 2017-2018, 160 thousand herding households will winter with their 66 million domestic animals across the country. Agricultural products constitute 12.2 per cent of Mongolia’s GDP, whereas the animal husbandry sector produces about 80 per cent of agricultural products. Mongolia experienced drought in most parts of the country this summer.
Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh addressed the workshop's opening and underlined the importance of framing a comprehensive policy comprising dzud risk assessment, disaster prevention and risk reduction measures.
“This year, winter might be harsher than last year's winter,” said the Prime Minister. In order to ensure full preparedness for possible wintering difficulties, the Government has allocated MNT 13.4 billion in the 2017 budget amendment and extra fund of MNT 3.3 billion in the 2018 budget of Governors.
The Prime Minister mentioned that some wintering problems found last winter, and they include outdated database on livelihood of herding households, lack of operational correlation between organizations, inadequate amount of hay and fodder in aimags and soums and lateness of study on households in need of aid.
“We need to focus on these issues this year,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also appreciated the efforts of the NEMA, the Mercy Corps and the Communications and Information Technology Authority of Mongolia in introducing a SMS service in rural areas. The Mercy Corps project aims to reduce the risk of dzud to herder communities and rural economies in Mongolia through on-demand weather information and increased local planning and risk reduction capacity. The SMS service has been tested in 128 soums of 15 aimags.
During his tenure as Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh got acquainted with the project and assigned corresponding organizations to study possibilities of nationalizing the SMS service. Regarding this matter, the NEMA signed memorandums of cooperation with the Communications and Information Technology Authority and telecommunications service providers—Mobicom Corporation, Unitel Group, Skytel Group and G-Mobile LLC on October 12. As such, the SMS service can reach all households in 21 provinces of Mongolia now.